Hit Or Miss
by Jeff Markowitz
April 1-30, 2021 Tour
When you’re twenty-one years old, it can be hard, under the best of circumstances, to balance the expectations of your father and the desires of your girlfriend. For Ben Miller and his girlfriend Emily Bayard, circumstances are far from perfect.
Emily’s mother has been murdered. Ben’s father, a detective in Dutch Neck, catches the case. It’s not long before evidence suggests that Emily’s father may be responsible for the death of his wife.
Set against the backdrop of the cultural and political unrest associated with the war in Viet Nam, Emily and Ben find themselves attracted by the politics and lifestyle of the counter-culture.
As Detective Miller conducts the homicide investigation and Dr. Bayard attempts to keep an affair with his secretary secret, everyone else in the town of Dutch Neck that summer of 1970 has the same question.
Who is responsible for the death of Rosalie Bayard?
Jeff Markowitz is the author of 5 mysteries, including the award-winning dark comedy, Death and White Diamonds. His new book, Hit Or Miss, was released in December 2020. Part detective story, part historical fiction, part coming of age story, Hit Or Miss is an Amazon Hot New Release in political fiction. Jeff spent more than 40 years creating community-based programs and services for children with autism, before retiring in 2018 to devote more time to writing. Jeff is Past President of the NY chapter of Mystery Writers of America.
Q&A with Jeff Markowitz
What was the inspiration for this book?
Write what you know. We’ve heard the advice a thousand times. But what do we know and how do we know it? And equally important, what don’t we know? The stories that I write evolve from a combination of experience, research, and imagination.
When it comes to technology, I am something of a Luddite. There are plenty of authors who write high tech stories and fast paced thrillers. That’s not me and that’s not the kind of story I should be writing. I write character-driven mysteries in which complex relationships, rather than technology, drive the action. That pushed me in the direction of writing an Historical Mystery. Of course, I could have set the story in most any time period other than today.
Once I settled on 1970, I knew I wanted to address what we used to refer to as the “generation gap.” This created an opportunity to view the story not only from the perspective of the detective, but also from the detective’s son, and from the son’s girlfriend as well, who happens to be the daughter of the victim.
A complex set of personal relationships drives the storytelling, but, at its core, Hit or Miss remains a straightforward detective story as Detective Miller pursues the truth about the murder of Rosalie Bayard.
What has been the biggest challenge in your writing career?
I have often said, I may not have the most readers, but I have the best readers. My books don’t always fit neatly into a particular genre or subgenre and that can create a challenge to building readership. According to my publisher, Hit or Miss is classified as a Detective Story/Historical Fiction and I think that’s accurate. According to Amazon, the paperback is a Mystery, but the ebook is not. The ebook is listed as Political Fiction/Coming-of-Age Story. In fact, when it was released, the ebook was an Amazon Hot New Release in Political Fiction.
I believe that readers want a good story, well told, and that is always what I try to write. The challenge, at times, is to connect with “my” readers.
What do you absolutely need while writing?
I need a story that I love and not enough time to write it.
Do you adhere to a strict routine when writing or write when the ideas are flowing?
I do my best writing early in the morning, on a desktop computer in my family room. It has been my routine now for nearly two decades and it works for me. I spend the rest of the day thinking about what I’m writing and jotting down key words on post-it notes that pile up on the dresser in my bedroom. If I took the time to put the post-it notes in sequential order, it would almost look like I knew what I was doing.
Every writer has to figure out what works best for them and then develop habits to support that process.
Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
I guess I have two favorite characters – Ben Miller and Emily Bayard. The book’s back cover copy tells you why –
When you’re twenty-one years old, it can be hard, under the best of circumstances, to balance the expectations of your father and the desires of your girlfriend. For Ben Miller and his girlfriend Emily Bayard, circumstances are far from perfect. Emily’s mother has been murdered. Ben’s father, a detective in Dutch Neck, catches the case. It’s not long before evidence suggests that Emily’s father may be responsible for the death of his wife.
Tell us why we should read your book.
There are more than 3 million ISBNs registered in the United States and new books are being published every day. The challenge both for writers and for readers is to connect. As a reader, how do you find the right storytellers for you? Reading book blogs is one very good way to find your next favorite author.
If you’ve read this far, thank you. Perhaps I’ve made a connection. If I have, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Hit or Miss. I think you’ll like it.
Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book?
In May 1970, more than 100,000 protesters converged on the National Mall in Washington DC to protest the wart in Viet Nam and the shooting of student protesters by the National Guard on the campus at Kent State. In my story, Emily Bayard meets President Nixon at the demonstration. Some readers may find it unrealistic to have the President chatting amiably with protesters on the morning of the demonstration, but that is historically accurate. There is, however, no evidence that he invited one of the protesters to join him for breakfast in the White House.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for caring about books.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I spent more than forty years creating community-based programs and services for children and adults with autism, including twenty-five years as President and Executive Director of the Life Skills Resource Center, before retiring in 2018 to devote more time to writing.
I wrote my first four books while I was still working full-time. My first mystery, Who is Killing Doah’s Deer, was published in 2004; it introduced readers to tabloid reporter and amateur sleuth Cassie O’Malley. Cassie returned in 2006 in A Minor Case of Murder and again in 2009 in It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Murder. In 2015, my standalone black comedy Death and White Diamonds won a Lovey Award and a David Award. Now that I’m retired, I write at a more civilized hour.
When I set out to learn the craft and the business of writing, many mystery writers were generous with their time and their talent. I’m proud to have had the opportunity to pay it forward. In 2018 – 2019, I served as President of the New York Chapter of Mystery Writers of America.
What’s next that we can look forward to?
For now, I’m focusing on short fiction. I have a short story about to be released in Murder Most Diabolical, the Malice Domestic 2021 anthology. I also have a short story in Jewish Noir 2, coming out later this year. I’m currently writing a novella, but I’m not ready to talk about it yet.
Catch Up With Jeff Markowitz:
BookBub – @JeffMarkowitz
Twitter – @JeffMarkowitz1
Read an excerpt:
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Enter To Win!:
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jeff Markowitz. There will be two (2) winners each receiving one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on April 1, 2021 and runs through May 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.